A Town of Sun Prairie family has filed suit against a youth hockey group and its parent association, seeking unspecified damages and asking the court to declare the association and its affiliates a monopoly.
The suit filed by Megan and Kyle Parnell on behalf of their 9-year-old son, is against the Madison Patriots Youth Hockey Association (PYHA) and the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA), charging those groups and their directors with an unlawful monopoly over youth hockey in Wisconsin.
The WAHA claims sole and “complete jurisdiction as the governing body of amateur ice hockey in the State of Wisconsin.”
Youth hockey players ages 4 and older are not permitted to transfer to another youth hockey team without a “release” from a team they enroll with.
Anyone who joins a WAHA team is in effect indentured to that team for their entire youth hockey career.
The plaintiffs’ then 8-year-old son wanted to join a youth hockey team closer to his home, school and friends but could not because the PYHA — which plays at Hartmeyer Ice Arena in Madison — refused to release him.
The suit also alleges the 8-year-old boy suffered a fractured kneecap and tears of his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, and again asked to transfer to the Sun Prairie Youth Hockey Association last November to be closer to home, his school district in Marshall, and his rehabilitation trainers.
According to the lawsuit, WAHA rules as interpreted by PYHA allow the Parnells to enroll (and SPYHA is permitted to accept the enrollment of) their son only by obtaining a release from PYHA authorizing a transfer to the new association.
The suit also states PYHA maintains WAHA rules require the Parnells to obtain such a release for every season that their son intends to play hockey for SPYHA.
The PYHA refused to allow the transfer, according to the complaint, and the boy is seeking relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act for the PYHA’s failure to accommodate his injuries.
The suit also charges PYHA with defamation because of a PYHA board discussion in which “the PYHA Board and its members accused the Parnells, and Megan Parnell in particular, of acting with the intent to deceive.”
The Parnells denied the accusation in the complaint as “baseless and false.”
Besides unspecified monetary damages “as may be proven at trial,” the family is asking Dane County Circuit Court to declare the WAHA and its affiliates a monopoly and its transfer schemes unlawful and unenforceable, and to order the defendants to permit the boy’s transfer to SPYHA, which is nearer to his Town of Sun Prairie home.